No one likes to have an unsightly, multi-colored bruise, especially if it’s located outside a covered area of the body. In the summer months, they’re even more annoying. Visible bruising can last from 2-4 weeks, but recovery time can easily be shortened with the use of herbs.
The use of herbs for wounds or bruising goes back centuries. Their healing properties were identified and used effectively to reduce discoloration, pain, and bruise longevity. Since bruises are simply the leakage of blood from blood vessel or capillaries under the skin, herbs help by providing the necessary nutrients that promote healing. Native Americans, for example, used herbs for wound repair long before traditional medicine came in to being.
For anyone experiencing a bruise with pain or embarrassing discoloration, here is a list of a variety of herbs to help speed recovery:
- Arnica is one of the best herbs used to treat bruising. This herb is part of the sunflower family and exists within many sub-categories of this genus. Studies have shown that it does speed healing. Acting as an anti-inflammatory, arnica helps move blood and fluid accumulations in such a way that bruising is reduced more quickly. Though it may be taken orally, extreme caution must be taken since when ingested in large quantities some toxic components can be harmful. It’s best to use arnica in cream, ointment, or poultice form. One quick recipe is to first soak gauze in a solution 1 tablespoon Arnica and 500 ml. of water, then apply to the bruise.
- Another helpful herb to heal bruises is comfrey. Used by the Greeks and Romans since 400 B.C. for its healing properties, it’s a perennial herb with turnip-like roots and wide, hairy leaves. It contains allantoin and tannins that promote new skin cell growth to speed bruise recovery.
Comfrey salve can be made conveniently at home with a few simple ingredients: 1/4 cup lanolin, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 4 teaspoons comfrey tincture. The salve may be reapplied several times a day as needed. Like arnica, comfrey should only be used as a topical treatment since internal intake can be dangerous.
- One of the quickest and handiest homemade remedies for bruising is onion. Not only are onions a topical pain reliever, but they have some medicinal benefits to bruising as well. For those who aren’t afraid to be a wee bit odiferous, freshly cut onion mixed with salt can be applied to a bruise with gauze. This simple treatment can go a great way toward reducing the pain and unsightly appearance of bruises.
- For centuries, the Chinese have used cayenne pepper to help bruises heal more quickly. To use this as a remedy, the recipe calls for one part cayenne to five parts Vaseline or vegetable butter. Heat the concoction, mix, cool, and then apply.
- A more palatable herbal remedy is ginger. It too helps with the pain associated with bruising, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Even better, it can be safely ingested as tea. All one needs is a fresh root of ginger cut into a one-inch piece. Using a pestle and mortar or other device, smash the ginger then let it steep in hot water. Ginger has many other wonderful restorative properties as well, so enjoy!
For those who bruise easily and wish to be less susceptible, there are many other herbal and dietary suggestions. Diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit can add the essential vitamins the body needs. Also, a daily intake of vitamin K and alfalfa tablets will help as well.